May 14 2011

Common courtesy.

Ever want to muzzle someone?

My phone was pressed to my ear as I talked with a business contact.  I was standing in a dog park with my two Whippets, Leo and Bliss.

Bliss began to bark.  Bliss only barks for the equivalent of the most direr "Code Blue" type instances.  She immediately got my attention.  Her cause for concern: a wolf-looking dog baring down on us in that slow, creepy way.  We were in his sights.

I gathered up and leashed both Whippets. The wolf got closer and his mate, a sleek, black Great Dane, joined in - stalking us.  I looked in the direction of their owner. "Please call your dogs," I called out.

He made a half-hearted effort.  I repeated the request with more urgency in my tone.  Taking flight was no longer an option; the distance between prey and stalker was too narrow.

"I am calling them." was his (lame) response.

"Can you be more assertive? My dogs are frightened," I asked.

A nose distance now from his dogs and increasingly frightened myself, I said, "Get your dogs on a leash NOW!  I am scared."

We visit the park four times a day and have since October 2008.  I didn't know this fellow or his dogs.  The same could be said of the owner and the pit-mix that hospitalized Leo last August.

You know what the jerk said?  "Lady, this is a dog park."

Anything but a gentleman, he may have had the last word but I didn't catch it.  My back was turned after a volley from our camp about common courtesy being common courtesy anywhere.


Jan 29 2011

Now or later.

Do you live in “now” or “later?”

Do you wake up in the morning thinking about all the things you have to do before another sunset?  Do you stop regularly to ask yourself, “Where do I want to be in a year, with whom, doing what?” Do you reflect periodically on all the zillions of moments and memories you’ve already experienced?

Do you put as much energy into meeting new people as you do nurturing friendships?  Do you make a regular effort with either?

Do you make a point of learning something new each day?  Do you walk, ride or drive the same route everyday?

What choices do you make – for yourself?  Are you tourist or explorer or homebody?

I have cleaned my flat, bathed the Whippets, done the laundry, closed the door on my office and turned my back on the photo albums, household items and clothes soaked in the December rains that flooded Wyatt underground storage units and still in need of sorting and fixing.

A year ago I left my marriage of 24 years largely for “now.” I thought we’d fallen into a routine of  “When this happens, we’ll …” all the while living a wonderful life but not content enough.  Connected and not.  The half full glass is half empty.

Since last January  I’ve crafted a busy, full life between my two cities – on my own, sometimes feeling very alone.  Sometimes empowered by the possibilities.  Many times feeling doubly blessed.  I have not always been true to my mission. Routines have gobbled up hours, days.

Today, with almost seven hours until I dress for a theatre date, I have a blank canvas before me.  What do I pick to do first?! How much can I fit in?

Portland’s Pearl is my playground! I’ll share what I find!

Enjoy the moments of today, Trix



Jan 13 2011

Baggage.

January 10, 2011

“Is there something in the side pocket you can take out to lighten the bag?”

I avoided eye contact with the fellow asking the question.   He had watched me stuff my lined, hooded raincoat in the zippered compartment. I didn’t want to carry it on the plane, across half the country – the long way.  Nor I was in the mood for someone who lived excruciating by the rules.  Twice a month I weigh in for flights with two bags, often each just under 50 pounds.  Last Monday I arrived with one 52-pound suitcase.

Charming the agent was out of the question.  A fowl mood was lurking just below my uncharacteristic, neutral, quiet, matter-of-fact demeanor.  I was worn down by two days with energy-draining people, the type whose complaining isn’t an occasional venting but a character trait.  I had wasted energy, time and breath with both, arguing the half full glass wasn’t leaking.

Many hours earlier a telephone call had woken me at 5:30 am from a dream of being tossed around in a vast, dark, bottomless ocean.   Two men were near me (in the dream, not in the bed). We were all swimming forward which seemed to me to be further out to sea; no land was visible.  I had paused to tread water, to question our direction (the dream mirroring my waking life isn’t lost on me).

The men had more reason for concern.  We were in shark-infested waters, they explained. We maybe had minutes until all was lost. I challenged this conclusion just as I’d foolishly argued with my weekend naysayers.  Once awake I wondered if the swimmers or the sharks were my two grumpy companions of late.

In the movie Eat Pray Love, Liz Gilbert is nicknamed “Groceries” by someone she meets on her quest.

My nickname might be “baggage.” I am not a pack rat. I regularly edit, delete and prune.  But I have always been a homemaker, even during my heaviest travel years.  An itch to travel, to economize is now rarely more than a thought away.  I have two dogs, heavy furniture and treasured possessions.  Each unique and irreplaceable, like the many people in my life.  I have been trying to travel with all of it, everyday.  It is time to maybe store possessions and distance myself from people that weigh me down and don’t make me happy.

Lugging baggage stops now.   Moving forward is about refueling, less about being grounded.

Suddenly it makes sense. Fifty pounds of baggage is the limit if I want to fly.

Lighten your load!

Always, Trix


Nov 14 2010

Yoga guy.

November 14th

The Yoga Guy wasn’t married to the Yoga Gal.  For the 25 years Joel and I were together, he alone was devoted to practicing but I now wish he’d left behind a mat and blanket.  I have a yen to move a painting and do a headstand against a wall, in a carpeted room.  My bed quilt might double as a prop but there is living alone to consider.  At just 52 I don’t want to be saying, “Help me. I’ve fallen and can’t get up.”  At age 2 our son Clay succeeded in dialing 911 (when there was no emergency); the Whippets at 6 probably would only lie on top of me if I fell out of an inversion into a injured state.

It’s been 10 years since I stood on my head.  The perspective and experience I once enjoyed.  Lately I ponder, “If I turn myself on my head, will everything else in this wackadoodle life right itself?!

About 17 years ago Joel began phasing out teaching ballet at night and on weekends to teach yoga.  I appeared at the first venue wearing my publicist hat; the article published in GTR Newspapers was a very readable, humorous, good-natured account of my first yoga class.

In subsequent years I contributed by buying, washing and folding dozens of blankets and mats Joel hauled around from one class venue to another.  I also was the photog for every image that appeared in his monthly newspaper column, Yoga Forms.  And I gave up traveling that wasn’t to a yoga workshop or certification destination – for Joel.  I had periods of showing up for class.

I was on a roll in 2000 (and last on my head) until faced with taking several weeks off from work for surgery and recovery…The good habit broke, the work ethic hit overdrive (I am Bob Medaris’ daughter).  I missed classes to get ahead at work.  In the end I bounced back to work 9 days out from hospital (Joel’s as good a nurse as yoga teacher) but only to sit in Swastikasana on my desk chair.

Human Nature LAX Exhibit by Annie Buckley

I’ve taken 5 yoga classes in the past 10 years- all have been this year.  My sixth will be at 9:45 today at LA Fitness.  Less travel would boost my monthly tally to 4 or 8, depending on whether the Sunday Yoga Guy at LA gets the rumored Friday class.  Then again, a lot of crazy stuff happens in my office on Fridays…

I won’t fib. I’ve no more gotten discipline than I’ve gotten religion (decades ago I gave up mass for lent). Inversions remind me of happy days.  As a child I spent a ton of time hanging upside down on monkey bars and jungle gyms.  Last month on a Sunday I rushed to a beach yoga class with a college friend hooked on the experience, describing it “like church.”  It was heavenly. I bent over and saw the Pacific Ocean, as the surf encircled me.  Some sort of toxic bundle of stuff inside me dissipated, replaced with a joy, a calmness, a confidence.

The practice of asanas purges the body of its impurities, bringing strength, firmness, calm, and clarity of mind. BKS Iyengar.

Joel and I separated immediately after the 2009 holidays.  This first round of holidays alone in a city that is still pretty new to me won’t be a picnic but I’ve got Sunday yoga and the welcome anticipation of standing on my head.

Gotta run.  Find something that makes you glow and stick with it!

Trix

Until I can publish links to  Joel classes in Tulsa, as well as Maridel’s classes in Springfield, may I suggest:

http://www.theyogaroomtulsa.com/The_Yoga_Room/Welcome.html

http://iyengarnyc.org/

http://www.yogapearl.com/schedule.asp

http://www.lafitness.com/Pages/ClassSchedulePrintVersion.aspx?clubid=438

http://bradkeimach.com/yoga.html

http://anniebuckley.com/html_03/art_bio_09.html


Nov 10 2010

My guy Tad.

“Tad, as in Tad the Cad on All My Children?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

About the name – pretty sure he’s been asked before by those of us familiar with the soap opera role played by actor Michale Knight. My Portland Tad is a homeless fellow I met him through the Whippets in the Fields.

My friends who know of Tad worry about me and our connection.  They needn’t.

The Fields is a rare undeveloped plot in Portland’s Pearl District that functions as a semi-official off-leash area.  In one particular spot it hosts a treasure chest of smells and discarded items. Most dogs and owners miss it, preferring the grassy fields for games of fetch. Whippets don’t play fetch. Leo gets the ball and then deposits it as far away from the person who flung it out there as possible. During Leo’s first days of living with us he and I indulged in games of Donut Dash in the long hallways of our Tulsa home. Leo would retrieve the greenish, tennis ball material, donut-shaped toy. He’d then quickly zip back towards me but always try to skate past me on the bamboo floors with his catch. I caught him, threw the toy back down the hall. The game continued.

The day I met Tad was a sunny, but slightly cool day. He was wrapped mummy-style in a green blanket on the pavement next to his heavily laden cart. The Whippets couldn’t resist exploring. They sniffed and poked around Tad during each of our first two walks of the day despite my effort to distract and chorale them. By mid-afternoon and our third walk, we found Tad standing, neatly folding his linens. I apologized for my nosey Whippets.

“I’ve found a huge bag of dog food. Would your dogs like some?” Tad asked.

Tad has eaten dog food, cat food, too. He definitely prefers dog food.

“Is it the oiliness of the cat food?” I asked Again, “Yeah.”

I worry often about financial security, especially starting over in my 50′s when many friends are retiring and embarking on fabulous trips I don’t see in my future. Tad didn’t once complain about his situation. He was, indeed, concerned about the disorder of his cart when I took his photo. Now when the weather here turns cold and wet, I text Tad. “Are you somewhere dry, warm?” He sends me a photo of an enclosed parking garage – his cart off to the side.


Aug 10 2010

Dogs & neighbors

I awoke today to find cards slid under the front door of my flat.  Each addressed to Leo or to Leo and Tracey.

Leo is my five-year old Whippet. He was viciously attacked by a Pit mix in the Fields, an off-leash dog park two blocks from our home in Portland’s Pearl District.

Dogs, like children, jump start the process of getting to know your neighbors.  In my experience, dogs  even more so than children.  Children, after all, are heavily booked with after-school activities – keeping parents on the run to places outside the neighborhood whereas dogs provide occasions to walk the neighborhood, conversing with those you meet on the street.  At least in an urban environment it works this way.  Without a fenced backyard, one walks with one’s dog(s) and a proper supply of doggie do bags. If you are at all social, you easily have two or three exchanges per walk, of which there are 4 to 5 a day.  Do the math…walking a dog can be your entire social life and an enviable one at that!

Sunday night while Leo was in surgery at Dove Lewis, I felt alone in my adopted city and longed for the yard around our former house in Oklahoma – a safe haven where Leo could chase birds and squirrels and his only brushes were with broken tree limbs.  But Leo is a city dog now and he has made his mark in his urban setting…perhaps more than me, The Whippet Lady, companion of Leo and his sister Bliss.

Leo will literally stop dead on the sidewalk if a passerby fails to acknowledge him.  There’s not an ounce of ego involved.  In every instance Leo has made eye contact, lifted his nose, raised his ears…he expects (and, I think, deserves) a return greeting.   I tug at his leash when the offender, a snob, has passed.  He quickly returns to his mission of greeting those ahead on the path.  I love this dog.  He has taught me so much.

It has long been observed that dogs and owners resemble each other.  I used to joke that I got Whippets in the hope I’d become lean, sleek and graceful – like Leo and Bliss.  Now I hope they will keep me sensitive, forgiving, accepting and trusting despite what comes on a Sunday in the park.

Always, Trix